The New Facebook Algorithm Update Penalizes “Like Baiting”

Like baiting

An example of like baiting.

Facebook recently announced it would begin to penalize pages that try to game its EdgeRank algorithm – the complex formula that now determines the prominence of posts within a user’s news feed.

The penalties are targeted at pages that specifically ask users for likes, shares and comments. Once thought to be a best practice among social media practitioners, this strategy can now get you in hot water. Facebook has now labeled the practice as “Like-baiting.”

According to Facebook, “’Like-baiting’ is when a post explicitly asks News Feed readers to like, comment or share the post in order to get additional distribution beyond what the post would normally receive.”

This method has been used in the past by marketers to get their posts shown higher in news feeds. But, after surveying its users Facebook learned that users found those posts less relevant, and, as a result, the social media giant has now put into place penalties to squash the prominence of those posts.

At LiveRez, we did a quick test and the results were telling. A seemingly innocuous post that contained the line “please help us by liking and sharing the article” barely showed up in the news feed (you had to scroll and scroll until you found the post). Deleting the post and re-sharing didn’t help at all, even after removing the call for likes and shares. And, it appears that there may even be a short penalty period where all posts from the account receive lower prominence in your fans’ newsfeeds.

The change also affects posts containing frequently re-posted content and posts that contain links to spammy sites that are mostly ad based.

This latest action by Facebook is very similar to Google’s ongoing efforts to keep people from gaming its search algorithm. It represents a clear and ongoing movement by search engines and social media networks toward delivering users only the best content.

What You Can Do

With as fast as these companies are updating their algorithms, your best plan of action is to not try to use tricks to game the system, but rather work toward producing unique and compelling content.  It requires more work in the short term, but it will be safer and ultimately better serve your readers.

Here’s a few guidelines to follow:

  • Do NOT use the words “like,” “share” or “comment” in your posts.
  • AVOID re-posting the same content on Facebook.
  • AVOID postings memes created by other, or any other frequently posted content to Facebook page
  • Work on producing fresh, unique content that is geared toward your fans’ likes and interests
  • And, make sure that if you are hiring an outside marketing firm to executive your social media strategy that they are now following these best practices as well

Learn More About LiveRez
LiveRez is the fastest growing vacation rental software provider for professional vacation rental managers. The company’s cloud-based, end-to-end platform offers fully integrated solutions for reservation management, trust accounting and online marketing, with high-ranking, high-conversion dynamic websites and an extensive affiliate marketing program. The company is a proud Gold Sponsor of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA).

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